PHOENIX - The Arizona Attorney General's Office is investigating Phoenix real estate company Montecristo Properties, LLC for selling people homes without telling them loans had been taken out against the properties.
Court documents show Montecristo defaulted on those loans resulting in foreclosure notices for people who thought they had been paying off their homes.
At least five people are listed in the investigation and the AG's office says there could be dozens more.
Court documents also show all of the victims are Spanish speaking and many trusted company managers to translate the sale contracts.
Silvia Teresa Gallo-Vazquez says she used Montecristo Properties to invest in several rental properties as her retirement plan.
Each time she was close to paying one off she claims the owner, Francisco Aguirre, convinced her instead put the money toward another home.
Suddenly she says one-by-one her tenants started getting foreclosure notices.
The bank said no payments had been made, the deeds were never put in her name and more than $200,000 had been borrowed against the homes which she had already paid more than $300,000 on to Montecristo Properties.
"By using my money he made more than half a million dollars," Gallo-Vazquez said of Aguirre.
She eventually gained the titles to the homes but the liens are up to her to pay off.
She now believes Aguirre took advantage of her and other families in vulnerable situations.
"When you go through something like this it destroys your life,” Gallo-Vazquez said.
She claims shortly after she hired a lawyer, Montecristo filed for bankruptcy and she is not listed as a creditor meaning she will not get any of her money back.
Aguirre tells ABC15 the allegations are unfounded and he plans to fight them vigorously.
Aguirre does have a felony criminal record after a 2008 plea deal for sale of unregistered securities which came with a 2.5-year prison sentence.